Thursday, November 21, 2013

Summary 2013 WY 145

Summary of Decision November 21, 2013

Justice Hill delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.


Docket Number: S-13-0056


Appeal from the District Court of Sweetwater County the Honorable Nena James, Judge

Representing Appellant: Randy B. Reed; Gregory C. Dyekman; and Kevin Walton of Dray, Dyekman, Reed & Healy, P.C., Cheyenne, WY. Argument by Mr. Dyekman.

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; Martin L. Hardsocg, Deputy Attorney General; Cathleen D. Parker, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Karl D. Anderson, Senior Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Mr. Anderson.

Date of Decision: November 21, 2013

Facts: This appeal concerns the 2006 valuation of natural gas from numerous gas wells in Lincoln, Sweetwater, and Uinta counties for which Merit Energy was a take-in-kind owner. The State of Wyoming Board of Equalization (SBOE) determined that Merit Energy failed to timely appeal several final Wyoming Department of Revenue (DOR) decisions regarding the amount of taxable gas it had received, resulting in a lack of jurisdiction by the SBOE. The SBOE dismissed Merit’s tax case with prejudice, and the district court affirmed the SBOE’s dismissal.

Issues: Merit lists three issues on appeal: 1. The Wyoming State Board of Equalization erred when it dismissed Merit Energy Company’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction. 2. The discrepancy letters sent by the Department of Revenue are not final administrative decisions. 3. The notice of valuation change sent by the Department of Revenue is a final administrative decision for purposes of appeal.

The DOR rephrases the issue as follows: Did the mineral assessments constitute final administrative decisions so that Merit had to appeal from them within thirty days and, therefore, did Merit’s delay divest the Board of jurisdiction to hear its eventual appeal?

Holdings/Conclusion: The 2008 tax assessment letters sent by the DOR to Merit Energy were final administrative decisions. Merit had thirty days in which to appeal these decisions and did not do so. We affirm the district court’s decision affirming the SBOE’s dismissal of Merit’s appeal as untimely. Furthermore, we conclude that even if this Court permitted Merit to appeal the Notice of Valuation Change, the doctrine of collateral estoppel precludes Merit from doing so. The underlying taxable value assessments were finalized by the 2008 tax assessment letters. Affirmed.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quote the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance]

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